Cliona viridis

Super Group: 
Schmidt, 1862
Cliona copiosa Sarà, 1959
Cliona nigricans (Schmidt, 1862)
Cliona suberea (Schmidt, 1862)
Cliona tremitensis Sarà, 1961
Osculina polystomella Schmidt, 1868
Papillella suberea (Schmidt, 1862)
Papillina nigricans Schmidt, 1862
Papillina suberea Schmidt, 1862
Taguilla nigricans (Schmidt, 1862)
Tapiliata nigricans (Schmidt, 1862)
Tapiliata suberea (Schmidt, 1862)
Vioa viridis Schmidt, 1862


Cliona species occurring in all three growth forms: alpha, beta and gamma. Moss green, brown, blackish or whitish colour in life. Specimens in alpha or beta growth form with tiny papillae, up to 4 mm in diameter, circular to oval in shape. Specimens in gamma growth form exhibiting circular,
oval or irregular ostial papillae and fleshy oscules over 2 cm wide. Spicules: megasclere tylostyles up to 400 mm long in alpha and beta growth forms, up to 600 mm long in gamma form sponges. Two categories of spirasters in all growth forms: spiraster I, with straight shaft 13–30 mm long and relatively large spines concentrated terminally, resembling amphiasters; and spiraster II, with 2–5 bends, 10–50 mm long.
External morphology : Thickly encrusting (beta growth form) to massive (gamma growth form), forming patches of over 20 cm in diameter and up to 5 cm thickness. Ostial papillae irregular to oval, numerous, 2 cm wide on average in vivo, barely distinguishable after fixation in ethanol. Oscular papillae more pronounced than ostial ones, slightly elevated, 3 cm in diameter, oval in shape. Colour in life moss green externally and internally, changing to brownish green after fixation in ethanol. Surface rough by large amounts of encrusting and embedded sand debris on ectosome, markedly undulated after fixation in ethanol due to papillar contraction. Consistency firm, only slightly compressible. Internal anatomy
Ectosomal skeleton : composed of tylostyle palisade . Choanosome cavernous with wide channels and abundant coarse calcareous debris loosely incorporated in inner parts and close to ectosome. Choanosomal skeleton formed by subtylostyles disorganized in inner parts and arranged in bundles close to ectosome. Spirasters, when present, dispersed in the choanosome .
Spicules : Megascleres: No apparent size classes, but tylostyles to subtylostyles size-variable, straight or slightly curved, with rounded, elongated or occasionally subterminal tyle, and sharply pointed . Microscleres: spirasters observed in two specimens in beta and gamma growth forms, with 1–5 twists, the smaller with stout and almost straight axis and with scarce spines, the larger with up to five twists and slender axis, with abundant and bifurcated spines .
Excavation pattern : Bioerosion sponge scars on calcareous substrate in erosion chambers made in encrusting coralline algae convex, pentagonal or hexagonal depressions measuring 42.0–55.0–65.0 (+1.8) mm in width (N ¼ 30). Chambers connected by apertures 300 mm wide.

Type illustration / Type locality / Type specimen

 Type locality: Zadar Channel, Adriatic Sea 


Cliona viridis is a photosymbiotic species, covering the uppermost portion of rocks, and was found excavating crusts of calcareous algae. Cliona viridis was observed frequently associated with epizoic green macroalgae and was usually covered by coarse sand.
Cliona viridis is distributed in the Mediterranean and Eastern Atlantic, occurring from zero to 365 m depth, and in south-eastern Brazil in 10–12 m depth.

Observation site(s)


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Association with... Region origin Name of site In reference...
Symbiodinium sp. Gulf of Naples

ASQME static network (beta)

ASQME dynamic network (beta)

ASQME map (beta)